This week - with a view of spring tempting us - we started walking outside. Which got me thinking...sure, most exercise is pretty much NOT something that I look forward to. But what surrounding do I find the most preferable?
After much mental debate - I've decided that I can't live without either option. Here are the benefits / drawbacks as I see them.
You Are Going Nowhere Methods - This includes tracks, treadmills, stationary bikes, and other stationary equipment.
You can stop at any point - you don't have to worry about going so far that you are too tired to get back. I want to believe that this helps me push myself further...but maybe it just makes it easier to quit at a weak moment.
If it is a motorized piece of equipment (like a programmed treadmill) you don't have to trust yourself to set the pace. You just have to keep up with the machine. You can always push the pace up a notch - but I pretend that the "slow down" button is broken and off limits.
I live in an area where there are approximately 14 days per year that are bearable outside (in my opinion). It's either freezing cold, sauna hot, or wicked allergy levels. Being inside sometimes makes breathing possible - and I find that to be a necessary part of exercise.
You can set your own scene - loud music, low lights, set temperature, watching trash TV, if it's private there is no need to dress for public viewing...you can pretty much have it your way.
The scenery sucks. My son and I tried out a track last week for the first time. It surrounded a gym and had an "open locker" shelf where you could put your belongings. I took every vantage point to keep my eyes on one suspicious fellow who was hanging around the shelf that then held my purse, wallet, cell, and car keys - a little longer than I thought necessary. So I guess in that case, there was some scenery drama.
It can be kind of boring.
You might not push yourself as hard - especially if it's not a programmable / automatic machine. At the very least, I find it difficult to keep a steady pace on those machines.
Ease on Down the Road Methods-
Good or at least ever changing scenery.
Could lead to a social encounter.
A good excuse to buy some cute workout gear.
You've got to get yourself back home. No quitting until you hit the finish line or front door.
Time moves a bit faster when you are paying more attention to your route and less attention to the countdown of the clock / miles.
The down side...
Could lead to a social encounter- this generally gets in the way of a serious workout.
Who looks good sweaty, panting, and without a mirror? Maybe it's best to keep it out of the public eyes.
Distractions everywhere...dogs barking, traffic, other walkers, the occasional dog running free and threatening to eat you.
Allergies, no temperature control, unpredictable weather.
It really is hard to expand your distance without fear of going too far. If you only have to drag yourself home, maybe this isn't too terrible - you'll likely survive. However, if you walk with a younger child - this requires some thought or quality earplugs to block out the whining.
Hills, potholes, no sidewalk, mud. We try to walk from home and our neighborhood just wasn't designed with the walker in mind. Driving somewhere so you can walk seems like an extra hassle- add a child that wants to take a bike, two dogs that have vet-paranoia, and soon you have to question the sanity of this plan.
No stereo - yes, I realize I could use my mp3, but refer back to the traffic, dogs, and child and suddenly this doesn't seem like a safe option.
And the winner is?
I would hate to only have one option. I think I would prefer outdoors a lot more if I lived somewhere with milder, user friendly weather...but since I don't I'll have to keep relying on both.
Which place do you prefer to walk / run? Do you mix it up or find that one style suits you better? Either way...keep on movin!
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